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Evergreen Donawa strolls to fourth title

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Four-times champion: Jay Donawa won the BNAA/Hannover Re Half Marathon Photograph by Bermuda Timing Systems

Ten years after he last won the event, Jay Donawa chalked up his fourth title in the BNAA/Hannover Re Half Marathon with a solo run that brought him home in 1hr 16min 33sec.

In contrast, women’s champion Rose-Anna Hoey had never won the 43-year-old race, but she did so in style yesterday with her best time for the distance since she became a mother in early 2014. She was third overall in 1:26:20.

In the 10K race held in conjunction with the longer event, Evan Naude was first in 35:38, two minutes clear of his closest rival.

Top woman in the shorter race was Deon Breary, sixth overall in 40:29.

For Donawa, 43, it was a return to the glory of yesteryear as he reclaimed the title he won in 1997, 2004 and 2005. When he last won, the event was simply known as the BTFA Half Marathon and was run on a different course.

The former Bermuda international athlete started conservatively, intending to tuck-in behind the chasing group in the 10K race, which was held simultaneously with the half marathon.

However, he soon found himself matching strides with 10K leader Naude along South Road. The pair agreed to work together until Naude reached the 10K turnaround point near the top of McGall’s Hill in Smith’s. After that, Donawa was on his own, carving out a sub six-minute per mile pace as he scorched to victory, eight minutes clear of runner-up Spencer Butterfield.

“I went out at 5:50 pace and ended up bridging the gap to Evan [Naude] early on. We ran together to McGall’s Hill and then I maintained the pace after that, running about 5:47s,” Donawa said.

“The most important thing was to try to run at a good rhythm and see where my fitness was. It has given me a good idea. My finishing time was quicker than I ran on May 24.”

Butterfield was next home in 1:24:49, followed by Hoey, 34, who had run a few training miles before the race started and added a couple afterwards as she builds towards competing in the Bermuda Triangle Full Challenge in January.

“I did two hard runs on Tuesday and Thursday, so I’m pleased with this. My last two miles were the fastest of the race,” she said.

Third man home was Reginald Benjamin, fourth overall in 1:35:37, followed by second woman and two-times past champion Victoria Fiddick in 1:36:13.

Third woman was 2009 champion Sharlene Sousa, who ran a personal best of 1:39:14 to come seventh overall.

Also setting a personal best was eighth-placed Ryan Gibbons, an adaptive athlete who runs with a prosthetic. He ran 1:43:00.

In the 10K, Naude cut a lone figure as he dominated from start to finish. He appreciated the boost in pace he got from running with Donawa on the outward leg as far as McGall’s Hill, and after turning around for the final two miles to the finish he was able to check on the relative positions of second and third-placed runners Neil Lupsic and Corey Brunton.

“I had a reasonable gap and just kept going. I was starting to feel the pace during the last few kilometres. I thought I could run about 36 minutes, so I’m happy with the result.”

Lupsic ran 37:44, with Brunton third in 37:58.

First woman Breary, was sixth overall in 40:29, ahead of Kristen Palmer, in 42:36, and Tamika Miranda in 45:12.

At the line: Deon Breary won the BNAA/Hannover Re 10K (Photograph by Bermuda Timing Systems)
Winning ways: Evan Naude was first in the BNAA/Hannover Re 10K (Photograph by Bermuda Timing Systems)